Adaptive Climbing – a sport for all

Even for those in wheelchairs

Adaptive climbing, also called paraclimbing, makes climbing accessible to people with any type of physical disability.  There are over 300,000 people climbing at indoor Sport Climbing gyms around the country.

Sarah Larcombe

Just four years ago, Victorian Sarah Larcombe embraced rock climbing for the first time.

The Australian paraclimbing champion — who has gone on to represent the country across the globe and win at World Cups — said it was something that she wished she had done sooner.

“Being up high on a climbing wall is the best feeling. It is so freeing,” Larcombe said.

“Climbing is actually the perfect adaptive sport. I really wish that I started climbing when I was younger. Read more and see video news clip.

Olivia Conforti

Sarah does not have HSP, but Olivia Conforti, who represented the US at the Paraclimbing World Cup in May, does. In 2013 she discovered rock climbing after a friend suggested she give it a try, and she has been in love with it and has been excelling at it, ever since.

Read more.

Climbing as a fun form of physiotherapy

With its dizzying heights and gravity-defying physicality, the adventurous sport of rock climbing may seem ill-suited to people living with disability.

Propelled by a volunteer-run climbing group for people with disabilities, Adaptive Climbing Victoria (ACV) is a grassroots group founded in 2018 to help more people with disabilities experience rock climbing, both indoors and outdoors. The organisation’s mantra is that everyone, no matter their ability, can climb.

There are many ways to adapt the experience so that it fits your needs.  Individuals who experience paralysis – there’s climbing for you, too! Wheelchair ramps can be placed around the walls of most climbing gyms, enabling you to get to the top. Once there, adaptive equipment like a standing frame or harness will allow wheelchair users to rock climb without having their chair in the way! There are systems that allow climbing via pull-up that will have you to the top in no time.

If you know of other locations and resources for adaptive climbing, leave a comment with the information below.


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